We’ve all been there: you wake up with a sniffle, a sore throat, and an overall feeling of malaise. The common cold is an unpleasant experience that can leave you feeling drained and unwell for days. But what if there was a way to speed up the recovery process? Can exercise actually help a cold?
We consulted with experts to find out if exercise can help a cold and what you should do to get the most out of your workout when you’re feeling under the weather.
What the Experts Say:
According to Dr. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, “If you have a cold, it’s generally safe to exercise.” However, he cautions that “if your symptoms are more severe, such as a fever, chest congestion, or body aches, it’s best to take a break from exercise until you’re feeling better.”
Dr. Umhau also notes that “moderate exercise can help boost your immune system, which can help fight off the cold virus.” This is because “exercise increases the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infections.”
However, it’s important to note that “intense exercise can actually weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections.” So, if you do decide to exercise when you have a cold, make sure to take it easy and avoid pushing yourself too hard.
Tips for Exercising with a Cold:
1. Listen to your body: If you feel too tired or weak to exercise, it’s best to take a break and rest until you’re feeling better.
2. Choose low-impact exercises: Activities like walking, yoga, or light weightlifting can help you stay active without putting too much strain on your body.
3. Stay hydrated: It’s important to drink plenty of fluids when you have a cold, especially if you’re exercising. Dehydration can make your symptoms worse and slow down the recovery process.
4. Avoid crowded places: If you’re going to the gym or exercising in a public space, be mindful of the people around you. Colds are highly contagious, so it’s important to stay away from others to prevent the spread of the virus.
While exercise can be beneficial when you have a cold, it’s important to listen to your body and take it easy. If your symptoms are severe, it’s best to take a break from exercise until you’re feeling better. However, if you’re feeling up to it, moderate exercise can help boost your immune system and speed up the recovery process. Remember to stay hydrated and avoid crowded places to prevent the spread of the virus.